Detroit Pistons first round draft pick Spencer Dinwiddie has only played in two games this season for a measly 22 minutes total and two points. In what arguably should be Andre Drummond’s best season so far, last season’s league runner-up in field goal percentage and in rebounds has been putting up poor numbers. The squad as a whole is ranked 27th in scoring and eighth for turnovers.
If head coach Stan Van Gundy wants to continue his perfect playoff attendance this year, the Pistons need to improve quick before a losing atmosphere once again sets in and the franchise loses hope.
Because of last year’s failures with starting all three of Detroit’s three big men at once, Van Gundy was expected to play around with the starting line up more than he has. Instead of placing one of the Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, Drummond combo on the bench, Van Gundy has been more likely to start all three.
All three of the team’s wins have come from this strategy as well. Offensive production has been lacking this season to the point that the team has only broken 100 points once. Aside from a hard-fought battle of the point guards against the Washington Wizards, 98 points is the highest production the team seems to be able to achieve.
Injuries have taken their toll on the team’s production as well. Dinwiddie’s tender knee has severely limited the minutes the rookie receives. Heart problems with backup center Aaron Gray during the preseason caused the franchise to waive the seven-foot-tall Pennsylvania native. A plantar fascia strain caused Cartier Martin enough foot pain to bench him.
Meanwhile, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who arguably had the best Summer League season of the whole league, has been left as the sole healthy shooting guard after summer signing Jodie Meeks hurt his back.
This Pistons season seemed like a new beginning for the franchise which struggled with rebuilding in the past. With Joe Dumars missing from the general manager’s position and a largely new coaching staff, Detroit seemed like it was on the road to a new start.
A tumultuous offseason brought the additions of D.J. Augustin, Caron Butler, Dinwiddie, Martin and Meeks, plus many new members to the coaching staff.
Detroit broke its 442-day trade drought in October with the trade of Will Bynum for Joel Anthony from the Boston Celtics.
Drummond participated alongside upcoming NBA stars like Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving as a member of the USA Men’s FIBA World Cup team which won the tournament. Many expected the experience to positively affect Drummond’s game play. This season, Drummond has the fewest average minutes a game of all the team’s normal starters.
Another highlight of the offseason was the fact that the rookie Dinwiddie might actually be able to play despite a knee injury that cut his college career short.
Going forward, the franchise needs its players to get healthier. Otherwise, the problems facing the Pistons are based on execution. Offense has not been there and fourth quarter losses are once again a problem Van Gundy desperately needs to address.
Colin Jackson is the co-host of Horsepower for Impact Sports.